The stock Harley-Davidson Road king handlebars are good enough for the “average-sized” bikers. But if comfort and style are the prime factors for you, then the aftermarket handlebars or ape hangers should be your choice. The best part is they will fit a broad spectrum of riders with different sizes.
Again, if you end up with the wrong sized handlebar, you may experience numbness on your arms after only an hour or two of riding.
Fret not! I have narrowed down the 5 best ape hangers for road king to select according to your preferences. Go through the article to find out more about ape hangers.
Best Ape Hangers For Road King: My Honest Review
Let’s check out why I put these monkey bars on the list and how they made their place.
Diameter: 1 1/4″-diameter formed steel
Internal wiring: Pre-drilled for internal wiring
on-center knurling: 3 1/2″
clamping width: 5.5″
Fits: 1996-2016 Road King
With this Bagger Brothers HD-HB-20-CH Chrome 1.25” x 12” Ape hangers, you can feel the difference is profound. You can glide for hours without taking breaks. This thick, chrome finish, heavy-duty bars will keep your pals awestruck.
When you are on your upright road king, if the length of this handlebar is the correct height for you and you have adjusted it properly, you will be impressed with your touring experience.
If the elbows are bent snugly and your hands are not above the shoulder height, your riding posture will get better, and there will be no upper and lower back pain at the end of the day. This ape will provide more subtle handling than the stock ones.
If your arms get tired, it means you didn’t set up the apes properly.
The curved shape
This shiny handlebar has 1 ¼” -diameter with 1” grip mounts and 1” center mount. The center width depends on the style also when the height is the same. There is a good 3 ½” center knurling to avoid any wobble.
However, while buying it, never forget to see whether your bike has a hydraulic clutch or cable clutch, as this one doesn’t support a hydraulic clutch.
For these 12 inch apes, you will require +6 inch clutch, throttle, and brake cables.
Since the height is not that much tall, you don’t have to have that excess extended reach, making the turning and maneuvering harder. Again, always go for the right size for the optimum leverage point.
This model goes with the 1996 to 2016 road king models. However, the throttle end of the right bar may not allow the grip of some models to fully insert. Otherwise, the internal wiring is easy for other models.
- thick, chrome finish, heavy-duty bars
- Offers comfortable journey
- The optimum height for proper leverage
- knurling to avoid any spillage
- You may face some issues with the right bar for not being correctly dented for the right fit of the master cylinder.
Fits: 2014 and below road kings
Diameter: 1 1/4″
Style: Powdercoated Glossy Or Satin Black
Road King is one of the simplest touring Harley Davidson bikes. If you want to add a great feel and look to your road king, this FMB RKM16FMB 16” Reaper King Bars will be your ideal choice.
After installed this beast, you will feel night and day differences. This one is taller than the previous one, and so it is more suitable for the taller boys.
Actually, implying bends, points and twists is not a simple task, but FMB manufacturers have pulled it off very nicely. With 16” end rise and 32” bar tip to bar tip, this model speaks of sleekness.
The pullback length is 6”, the bottom inside length is 11”, and the bottom outside length is 13.5”. If you want to go for a narrower design than the previous pick, this one is ideal.
A Note: Keep in mind that the ape with peaks like this one has slightly more height than the curved ones with the same heights. So, while measuring the height, put the ape hanger upside down on a table to get the appropriate height.
Right center width
When the ape hangers go too wide, you may face problems maneuvering the bike at low speeds.
Since this one has an optimum center width, you don’t have to put more effort while cornering or making tight turns.
The powder-coated glossy and satin black configuration are quite praiseworthy. The craftsmanship of this one-piece tool speaks of durability. The DOM tubing will serve you for an extended period.
The best part is it has a throttle wire application and pre-drilled for wiring. And you don’t have to worry about the joints as it is properly TIG welded. Above all, you can undoubtedly go with this black beast if you have 2014 or below road glides.
- Easy to install
- Very well made fit and finish
- Changes look of the bike
- Proper riser space for easy adjustments.
- Powdercoated bars for durability and a nice appearance
- Better for taller riders
- It may cause more wind resistance at speed
- Scratches easily
Fits: 1998-2013 Harley-Davidson Road King
Diameter: 1.25″ diameter
Internal wiring: pre-drilled
Style: gloss black powder-coated or chrome
If you want to spend more penny on your money bars, the Paul Yaffe’s Bagger Nation OEMB125-16 B Black 16” one will be an excellent choice.
You can bet that the finishing on the welds of the joints is most likely better on this expensive bar. This one will keep your neck and back straight and ensures a comfortable journey.
When you end up with a lousy knurling configuration, you may encounter slippage. This one is handcrafted to ensure proper stability.
Since this handlebar is quite tall, it provides more leverages than the 2” ones on the riser clamp. So, it eliminates all the wobble with the aluminum gorilla grabber, which offers a good grip on the knurling.
Sometimes turning is complex with the stock handlebars or with the wider ones. But with this Paul Yaffe’s 16” handlebar, the turning is quite fascinating and effortless with the right tires and suspension.
This pointy money bar goes with the Harley Davidson road king and road glides 1998 to 2013 models. This one is wider than the previous pick, albeit the height is the same.
This tube comes with a 1.25” diameter which is predrilled for no-fuss wiring.
However, always check your touring model, whether it has a hydraulic or cable clutch system. This ape hanger doesn’t support the hydraulic clutch.
A Tip: The bushings that hold the handlebar clamp and risers down are made out of rubber, which deteriorates and gets softer. Try to replace this with polyurethane ones which are stiff and eliminate all the movement.
- Easy to install.
- Different sizes to choose from.
- Internal wiring eliminates the clutters of cables
- Offers better control for slow-speed maneuver.
- The holes can be hard to put the wiring inside.
Design: Swage forming
Color: chrome or black finish
Width: 38.5 inches
Pull Back: 10 inches
The Burly 16” Gorilla Ape Hanger offers good quality and well-made gear that belie its low price tag. It is wide enough for making the u-turns without hassle. This one will take fewer installation instructions and won’t waste your time.
If you suffer from strain on the back muscles and neck and are having low stock bars, you should consider this for an upright posture for the rider. This one might be the most comfortable choice for the tall riders, hands down.
To offer the exact positioning, the ape has been swaged at the control end. This helps to rotate the controls and hydraulic reservoirs. Again, this one has got your back with pre-drilled holes to run internal wiring. And the dimples are for the external wiring harness.
Additionally, since there are no joints, there is no risk of rust. This American-made top-rated money bar is undoubtedly ideal for Harley Davidson Softails and Road kings. So, the customers will be delighted when they have this model on their hands.
A wrong aftermarket ape hanger can have a bad impact on your ride. So, you have to know the exact measurements of your monkey bar.
This one has a 16” rise, 38.5” wide, and a 10” pullback. The handlebar comes with a 1.25inch diameter with a 1” clamp diameter.
Though this one ticks all the boxes, it will not break your bank. There is a conception among us that – the higher the quality, the higher the price. This statement is not applicable to all. And this affordable 16” beast speaks of durability, reliability, and affordability.
The corrosion and rust-resistant feature guarantee that the hangers will not restrict you from experiencing adventure in various weather conditions.
Tip: Check your bike, whether it is a single or dual disc, to adjust the brake line.
- Swaged at the control end for proper ergonomics
- No risk of getting rust
- Decreases the sore back
- Changes the appearance of the bike
- Suitable for taller riders
- Not for the average-sized bikers
Internal wiring: Pre-drilled
If you want to splurge and are looking for a supreme material that will accentuate your appearance, the Wild 1 Chubby 12.5 inch ape hanger will be a great choice. This will provide a classic ape look on your Softail deluxe to other road kings.
This standard 1-1/4 inch diameter tube with a 12.5-inch end rise will be appropriate for the proper fit of the cables and wires for your Harley road king.
The width is around 36.5”, the center width is around 10,” and the pullback is around 12in. This mini-ape offers excellent comfort with the right wrist angle and height.
The American manufactures have come with this beauty, which speaks of standard controls and risers.
The one favorite aspect about this bar is common among the customers, and that is its superior configuration to the stock ones.
This one provides an aggressive look with the opened-up hand posture and straight-up rise. The best part is it is predrilled for easy cable installation.
Great with the windshield
When you have aligned the bars properly with the front forks, you will feel fantastic. Since this is wide, you won’t have any issue with the windshield.
Tip: When you are changing the clutch cable, always rotate the rampant ball to the back before you bolt this back down. Otherwise, the clutch won’t adjust right. And always check your bike has ABS or not before purchasing the bars.
- Wide bars for better control
- Proper knurling to avoid any wobble
- Comes pre-drilled wires for easy installation
- Expensive than others
How To Choose The Best Ape Hangers For Road King (The Buying Guide)
While ape hangers can make the rider look cool, it also enhances the riding experience for those who have back pain. But having too many brands available in the market, choosing the right ape hanger is difficult.
Here are the features you should consider before buying the best ape hanger for your Road King.
Ape hangers are available in different heights ranging from 8” to 20”. The height of the handlebars determines whether you will feel comfortable with the hanger or not. So, choosing the right height and eliminating the guesswork is important.
Though the ideal height is somewhere around your shoulder, you need to consider the “rider triangle” to know the height precisely.
The rider triangle is the triangle formed by three contact points- your contact with the seat, the footpegs, and the handlebar grips as your body weight will be distributed into these three points while riding. For this, sit on a bike and take natural posture as you take while riding by lifting your arms with slightly bent elbows and hands in a fist shape like holding the bars.
When you feel comfortable, measure the distance between your one hand and the risers to get the appropriate height of the ape hanger. Remember, an ape hanger with inappropriate height can result in pain in your wrist, back, and neck.
Build Quality And Durability
You’ll never want to buy an ape hanger that is inferior in quality and doesn’t last long. For this, you should check the body material that it is made of. We recommend buying aluminum or steel-made hangers as they last longer. Common materials also include chrome-plated steel, carbon filter, etc.
And you also should keep in mind that whether you need narrow bars or wider bars. Narrow bars come with less leverage than the wider ones.
Check out the recommended models as each of them has its features, specifications, pros, and cons.
You will have to extend the cables if you are switching from the stock handlebar to the ape hanger. And the existing cable isn’t long enough, which happens in most cases if the hanger is higher than 10”.
You need to measure to find out if you have to extend the cables or how long the extension should be before purchasing the hanger.
Bend a gauge wire to the shape of the new bar and run it from the riser to the switch block. Now measure the existing cable length. Finally, determine the extra length you need to purchase by comparing these two. Always buy one with a little extra length than you need.
The installation process is an important factor to consider before purchasing. If you are a DIYer, consider buying one that comes with a guide.
Having the necessary kits will save your time and make the process easier. However, if you’re happy to spend extra money, make an expert do it.
The quality of the ape hangers runs parallel with their price in most cases. The more expensive the product is, the better its quality will be. Try to set your budget and compare hangers from different brands and designs to find the best one for you.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is an ape hanger?
The Ape Hangers are the tallest variety of handlebars, where some are extreme, others are more moderate. For this handlebar, style and height are the keys.
The typical height associated with these handlebars is 12 to 16 inches. It was invented to help riders to lift themselves up without any difficulties when they don’t have any rear suspension. The right choice increases riding stability.
How to adjust the bars?
They’re super easy to adjust. Just follow the steps –
- Take the Torx tools, or Allen wrenches to loosen the two screws on the left.
- Tilt it down until it’s comfortable
- Then loosen the two screws on the master cylinder and two screws on the throttle control
- Adjust the bars to the same angle and tighten it back down.
Note: Always keep the lever pushed in while installing the ape hangers. And remember to check out the pinched wires on the grips to avoid electrical issues.
Are ape hangers legal?
It really depends on the height of the bars and your location. Always check with relevant state traffic laws as these can vary.
So, which one is the best ape hanger for road king, according to you? All the models have their advantages and disadvantages. Keep a trade-off between these factors when picking your ideal height.
Consider your style of riding. If you have back pain, installing the ape hangers will be a boon for you.
Let me know in the comment section whether you like the curved handlebar or the narrow handlebar for your Harley Davidson.